Federal Councillor Schneider-Ammann signs agreement to support transparency and good governance in the commodities sector

Bern, 21.10.2015 - On 21 October 2015, Federal Councillor Johann N. Schneider-Ammann signed an agreement with the World Bank to support the new Extractive Global Programmatic Support Programme (EGPS) which promotes transparency and good governance in the commodities sectors of developing countries. The programme also contributes directly to the implementation of the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI), a voluntary standard on transparency regarding the management of natural resources. Switzerland supports the EGPS programme as part of the implementation of the Federal Council’s background report on commodities.

Under the agreement, Switzerland will contribute CHF 2 million to the World Bank EGPS Programme for the period from 2015 to 2019. The programme strengthens finance and energy ministries by providing technical advice and knowledge transfer. This includes among
others training courses in commodities and fiscal policy, support in negotiating contracts with commodities companies on the granting of licences and mining rights, and dealing with artisanal and small-scale mining.

The programme also promotes the implementation of the voluntary EITI transparency standards regarding the management of natural resources. The activities of the EITI strengthen governmental and corporate systems, contribute to an informed public debate and build
confidence among the various stakeholders in commodity-producing countries. The signing of the EGPS took place in the margins of the 30th meeting of the EITI Board, from 22 to 23 October in Bern.

The commodities sector is an important part of the world economy. In Switzerland, the commodities trading sector, which contributes 4% to gross domestic product and has grown rapidly in the last few years, has been a powerful motor of economic growth. Commodities companies also invest and create jobs in developing countries. This is especially the case when effective institutions, adequate legislation and transparency
help to prevent corruption and conflicts.

In this context, in 2013 the Federal Council adopted the background report on commodities, which contains recommendations to ensure Switzerland's attractiveness as a business location and to examine possible ways to create greater transparency in financial and production flows. In addition, Switzerland aims to encourage responsible corporate management, to support states in their efforts to strengthen good
governance, to recognise reputational risks at an early stage and to strengthen the dialogue between all stakeholders. The support of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) for the EGPS Programme is part of the implementation of recommendations 7 and 13 of the background report.

Address for enquiries

Noé Blancpain, Head of EAER Information
Tel. +41 58 462 39 60, noe.blancpain@gs-wbf.admin.ch

Antje Baertschi, Head of SECO Communications
Tel. +41 58 463 52 75, antje.baertschi@seco.admin.ch

Kelly S. Alderson, World Bank Communications
Tel. +1 (202) 473 2028, kalderson@worldbankgroup.org


Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research

Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research